Lenten Practice: Praying On Purpose

hours1Note: During Lent, I’m doing a version of Jen Hatmaker’s “7” challenge. To read about my plan, click here.

At 5:30 every morning my phone will ding an alarm. That’s not as early as I woke up last year during Lent, but it’s earlier than I woke up any day last week..

It is The Awakening Hour. I will pray for the first time (or the second time depending how you want to count the night watch).

How? I wondered when I decided to do this. Will I lay in bed and pray and then fall back asleep if I want to? Will I get up and use my prayer book? What will it look like for me to intentionally stop seven times a day to pray? I’m not trying to sound like a spiritual slacker, but I’ve honestly never planned to on purpose stop and pray at seven specific times a day. I’ve prayed every morning. I’ve prayed before every meal. I’ve prayed at bedtime. I’ve had “Quiet Time” daily.

But I have never set six alarms on my phone (the seventh time will happen whenever I wake up in the middle of the night–which almost always happens) to remind me to stop and pray. It will be interesting to see how this either becomes a natural habit or if the alarms will continue to surprise me as they call me to pray.

hours2

Here’s the plan for now: When the alarm dings, I’ll stop what I’m doing (or make a plan for stopping what I’m doing very soon–I won’t use my Lenten disciplines to alienate my loved ones, so if I’m in the middle of dinner with my family when the twilight hour arrives, I’ll plan to pray after dinner) and place myself in a space where I’ll be able to pray. I plan to go old-school in two ways. I’ll carry my prayer book and I’ll carry a notebook to record prayer concerns. At each prayer space, I’ll either pray along with my Book of Common Worship: Daily Prayer or I’ll pray about the things on my list (or both) and then I’ll take time to sit in silence and listen.

I’ve always admired the devotion to prayer that practitioners of other religions or faith practices or holy vocations observe and I’ve always struggled to be so devoted to prayer myself. I’m excited to attempt this journey. Hatmaker writes, “Those humble enough to pause and touch the grace of the hour have hallowed these rhythms for centuries.” Monastic and contemplative pray-ers, ancient and modern, have observed these pauses for ages, every single day.

So, is there anything I can pray about?